Delightfully slippery noodles; soft tofu, ever-so-slightly crunchy cabbage, chewy mushrooms, and hot and sour kimchi make this a sensuous, even mysterious texture-fest. It stores and reheats well, adding an always-welcome convenience factor.
• Bean thread, aka “cellophane,” noodles are commonly (and inexpensively) available in most Asian grocery stores. They cook up quickly.
• There are many kinds of kimchi. Some are hotter—also some are sweeter—than others. Flavor characteristics are usually indicated on the label. Taste around to discover your preferred brand. Personally, I like the hot kind for this. Whichever kind you use, be careful when opening the jar. Because it is fermented (and still active) it’s a lot like opening a bottle of beer or sparkling wine, creating its own little celebration. In other words, do this over the sink.
• Consider using a roasted, rather than plain, peanut oil – both for the initial frying and also to “dress” it afterwards—in addition to, or instead of, the toasted sesame oil. It’s an aromatic oil usually used for finishing, but sturdy enough to cook with.
3 to 4 ounces uncooked bean thread noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil (roasted or plain) —or grapeseed oil
4 cups chopped onion
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
8 ounces very firm tofu, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon salt (possibly more)
1 pound fresh mushrooms (can be more), stemmed if necessary and quartered (nice departure from sliced – textural fun)
½ pound savoy (aka Napa) cabbage, in thin strips (4 cups)
1 jar kimchi (14 ounces) – all contents
• Torn cilantro leaves
• A drizzle of Chinese toasted sesame oil or roasted peanut oil
• A few drops of seasoned rice vinegar
• Sriracha or chili oil - or another chili sauce
• Red pepper flakes
• Chopped, toasted peanuts or cashews
• Steamed edamame (green soy beans) – really pretty on top!
• Cooked green beans (thin ones- or cut lengthwise)
• Strips of omelet